Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

Featured Fruit — Cranberry

January 23, 2003

Cranberry

 

Alaskan Bog Cranberry – Oxycoccus microcarpus

A member of the Heath family, this creeping shrub has slender branches and tiny leaves.  The flowers resemble miniature shooting stars, while the ruby fruit often appears to be lying on a bed of moss.  Prefers mossy peat bogs.

 

The American CranberryVaccinium macrocarpon

This is the best known commercial cranberry, because of its size and juiciness.  Also a member of the Heath family, the low lying shrub bears pink flowers that grow into rounded reddish-black berries.

Currently, there are about 150 species of cranberry in the world. The United States produces 98% of the world’s cranberries.

Cranberries have been used culinarily and medicinally since befor the Europeans came to America.  They are used to treat many things, but most commonly for urinary tract infections  and kidney stoones.